KI Practitioner Fellow Hilary Klein Publishes Compañeras: Zapatista Women's Stories
Posted in Practitioner Fellows
As a Practitioner Fellow at the Kalmanovitz Initiative in the fall of 2013, Hilary Klein researched innovative models for low-wage worker campaigns, building upon her two decades of experience in in social justice and community organizing. Last month, Hilary published her first book, Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories, which she compiled during her years living in Zapatista communities in Chiapas, Mexico.
Compañeras is the untold story of women’s involvement in the Zapatista movement, the indigenous rebellion that has inspired grassroots activists around the world for over two decades. Gathered here are the stories of grandmothers, mothers, and daughters who became guerrilla insurgents and political leaders, educators and healers—who worked collectively to construct a new society of dignity and justice. Compañeras shows us how, after centuries of oppression, a few voices of dissent became a force of thousands, how a woman once confined to her kitchen rose to conduct peace negotiations with the Mexican government, and how hundreds of women overcame engrained hardships to strengthen their communities from within.
From 1997 to 2003, Hilary worked with women’s cooperatives in Chiapas and interviewed hundreds of Zapatista women. After she edited a book of Zapatista women’s testimonies to be circulated in their own villages, women in the Zapatista leadership suggested that she compile a similar book for an outside audience.
Hilary has been engaged in social justice and community organizing for twenty years. After spending five years at Make the Road New York, a membership organization that builds the power of immigrant and working-class communities, she will join the Center for Popular Democracy this May.